21st Century Skills Schools Need to Have

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  just published a free ebook about 21st century skills both teachers and students need to know. Technology advancements have affected every aspect our world including education. It is our duty as educators to teach our students the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century.  Teachers should use social media and educational technology in their classroom and daily life.

Here is the ebook that can inform you about 21st century skills:
The 21st Century Skills Teachers and Students Need to Have


Eye Witness to History

Eye Witness to History is a wonderful website to incorporate primary sources such as first-hand accounts, vintage photographs, and radio broadcasts into your classroom.

Eye Witness to History is a wonderful website for both Global and United States History. The website presents history through the perspective of those who actually lived it – from the ancient world through the 20th century.

Great Video about using Mobile Devices in the Classroom

I learned about Infinite Thinking Machine, which is a TV show designed for teachers from Ken Halla’s blog. I am constantly amazed with the wonderful resources I discover because of Ken. I highly recommend following Ken Halla on twitter @kenhalla and adding one of his many blog’s to your RSS feed.

The following video highlights interesting ways mobile devices can be used in the classroom to apply learning to the real world and connect the content to student’s lives. The video highlights ways you can use Instagram, TwitterPoll Everywhere, Text the Mob and Wiffitti, Google+ Hangouts, and create instructional videos on sites like Educreations in the classroom. I can’t wait to try a few of these ideas with my students. Check it out today!

Educreations: Create and Share Video Lessons

I learned about Educreations,  from Infinite Think Machine; which is a free application for the ipad or a laptop that allows users to create virtual whiteboard lessons. Educreations has a clear audio voiceover, graphics, and the ability to post the interactive whiteboard to any social media website or blog.  This application can be used by students to help a classmate with a difficult math problem or historical time period.

Teachers can create a flipped lesson or assign educreations as a project with any unit of study. As a history teacher, I could see educreations as a useful resource. I think this would be an interesting way to introduce key vocabulary or review for the Regent’s exam. You could pair students together, assign them a vocabulary word, and have them create an interactive whiteboard video about the vocabulary word. You can then embed the videos online to view for homework, a video for class, or a review tool. The ideas are endless.

Here are a few examples:

myHomework Keeps Student’s Organized

Organization is the key to success in any career. If a child learns and maintains organization in secondary school, they will find it easier to remain organized for the rest of their life.  An organized student will be less frustrated because they won’t waste time searching for handouts or redoing assignments. As educators it is our duty to foster and encourage organization with daily assignments and homework planning.


I recently discovered an application called myHomework for both Android and iPhone. MyHomework is a FREE application that can help students stay organized and keep up with homework, assignments, and assessments. There are multiple features such as a calendar display including block scheduling and different classes. The paid version of myHomework is 1.99, which can sync homework with any device, be accessed anywhere with the web feature, homework notifications, and even a Facebook sign-in option. It’s a wonderful application that can encourage organization for ANY student.

For More Information Visit myHomework.




75 Free Lesson Plans based on historical inquiry and primary source activities

I recently discovered Reading Like a Historian, from Ken Halla’s US History Blog, which is a wonderful  curriculum to engage students in historial inquiry. Students are no longer passive learners  but engaged interpreters of history. The Standford History Education Group produced over 75 Lesson Plans based on primary documents and activities to engage your students in the study of United States History.


These lessons seems to align perfectly with the Common Core Standards of reading, analyzing, forming an opinion, and debating primary source materials. Students are not learning the material from a textbook or a teacher but engaging in real and meaningful historical inquiry.


Each of the lessons revolves around a central historical question and features sets of primary documents modified for groups of students with diverse reading skills and abilities. The curriculum can help students use historical inquiry skills such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading. Here is a sample inquiry lesson, see the Japanese Internment Lesson Plan.


Instead of memorizing historical facts, students evaluate primary sources and develop their own conclusions related to the historical events. I can’t think of a better way to learn history (other than living through the actual event).

Here is a sample Unit:


For More information and Citation: Visit the Standford History Education Group’s Website











Technology Presentation at Ithaca College

I recently presented at “What is the Classroom of the Future?” to

Courtesy of ProkoschPhotography.com

preservice teachers at Ithaca College on Thursday, April 12, 2012. I discussed some interesting and engaging ways to incorporate technology into your curriculum and teaching practice. Here is my powerpoint presentation:

Financial Literacy is Important

I love finding interesting infographic’s that I can use in the classroom such as the infographic about the importance of financial literacy  from Richard Bryne’s Free Technology 4 Teachers Blog. The infographic shows the importance of educating teenagers about the importance of financial literacy.

As a teacher it is important to educate our students about economics and issues related to financial literacy. Starting at a very early age it is important to teach children about even basic economic concepts such as savings and markets. In middle school, basic concepts can be expanded to teach students about economic theories and ideas. In high school, economics can be expanded to teach students about more complex issues such personal or national economic issues such as the recession. Unfortunately, the majority of high school graduates leave high school without any knowledge of financial literacy and are faced with the reality of debt.

As educators we need to incorporate economics in our curriculum.  On Tuesday April 17th- I plan on taking Richard Bryne’s example by teaching about taxes and where our money goes. The IRS website about Understanding Our Taxes is a wonderful resource to teach students about our government. The website offers interactive modules, such as how and why of taxes that can be tailored for Middle School, High School, and Post-Secondary education.

Another interesting website is Where did my tax dollars go? I think my students will really enjoy this website because it personalizes where our taxes go such as medicare or national defense. I highly recommend checking out these two websites if you teach about taxes and financial literacy.

Info-graphic: Schools Like Social Media

I am a strong proponent of using mobile devices in schools and teaching our students responsible cell phone usage. The Association of Curriculum and Development has taken statistics and composed this interesting info-graphic about students and mobile learning. According to the research banning mobile devices does NOT work. Here are some of my favorite statistics based on the info-graphic:

  • 63% of students want online textbooks that allow them to communicate with their classmates
  • 69% of schools in the US ban cell-phone use
  • Teens use 12-17 social networking websites to communicate with friends
  • 63% of students use cell phones in school even if they are banned

Smart Seat

One of my least favorite things to do at the beginning of the school year is make seating charts. I recently learned about Smart Seat at #EdCampSS. Smart Seat is an app that provides teachers with so many features such as: changing the classroom layout, taking attendance, choosing student’s for class participation, making notes about students, and learning students names. As a teacher you can move students randomly or you can place students in particular seats. You can also generate a print-out seating chart with photos for your substitute. You can take attendance with the tap of a button using the absent, tardy, or excused feature. Classroom management and organization will never be the same with this app!

Some features include:

● Load student names using three options: from e-mail attachment, type in, or copy and paste. See our website FAQ for more info.
● Drag and drop students to change seating arrangement.
● Choose how you want your seating chart to look: show student nicknames, full names, or photos plus nickname.
● Export and print PDF seating charts.
● Record attendance by simply tapping on the student to mark Absent, Tardy, or Excused. Default state is Present.
● View, export, and print a spreadsheet of class attendance records for a range of dates that you select (up to 1 year).
● Choose students at random for class participation and class discussion.
● Use the “flashcard” feature to quickly learn student names. Toggle between photos and names by tapping on the class title at the top of the seating chart.
● Tap on a student to access attendance history, notes, and to load a photo using your mobile device’s photo album or camera.
● Use the classroom layout screen to change the number of rows and columns by panning up/down and left/right.
● Customize classroom layouts by creating a grid pattern for your desks, and then hiding selected desks.
● Scramble option allows instant creation of new seating arrangement.
● Add new students to class roster.
● Maximum size desk layout is 10×10 for iPhone/iPod touch and 20×20 for iPad.
● Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, iOS 5.0 or later.


For more information visit the App Store

Grade Chart @TeacherCast

Grading is my least favorite task as a teacher. Grading assignments, allocating percentages, and adding/subtracting points can be a daunting and repetitive task.Grade Chart is one of the best apps to help you grade student work.   Grade Chart is available on the Google Play for FREE. All you have to do is enter the number of questions or points of an assignment and Grade Chart will generate the percentage and letter grade for your student. Another  feature of Grade Chart is that you can quickly get the class average for any assignment. It’s a true time saver for any teacher. Check it out today!


Check out my original post @TeacherCast 

Twiducate Safely with your Students

Twitter is a wonderful professional and educational resource for education.Twitter has assisted our students and teachers to extend learning beyond the classroom. Students learn better when they are engaged in the curriculum through a social setting because the environment is inclusive for all students.


Twitter has revolutionized the learning environment and truly brought the world into the classroom. The ability to “watch”  the events as they happen around the world is so valuable. My classes “watched” the twitter feed as #occupywallstreet movement occurred and the #syria hashtag of the uprising in Syria. The experience was priceless!


Unfortunately schools across the country have blocked Twitter, which is preventing our students from collaborating and interacting with each other in a 21st century medium. That’s where Twiducate comes in!

For schools where Twitter is blocked or students are too young, teachers can incorporate Twiducate into the classroom. Twiducate is a wonderful FREE resource for teacher to incorporate a twitter like program into their learning environment. It is a safe medium to extend the classroom beyond the school day and incorporate social media into the classroom. Using Twiducate, teachers and students can be in a specific group, post, comment, and view classroom discussion. Twiducate is a private and safe social network to engage your students. Check it out today!



Citation and images: Twiducate